You hear it all the time. Adopt, don’t shop. But, very rarely do you hear about the alternative. In fact, most people do not know what buying from a breeder or pet store actually entails. Luckily, we don’t have any “pet stores” in the Oklahoma City area, but Oklahoma is listed among the top 12 states in the nation for puppy mills. That means people are buying directly from these facilities or from places who are buying from these facilities.
“Oklahoma ranks among the top 12 states in the nation for puppy mills.”
We have five great reasons why you should think about adopting rather than shopping for your next pet:
- Health. Because of bad breeding, genetic problems in breeds are magnified. For example, King Charles Cavaliers are beautiful, but many of them face heart problems. Great Danes are really popular, but often have hip problems if bred incorrectly.
- Humane treatment. Plain and simple, puppy mills put profit over health and treatment of animals. Many dogs have never been touched, held, or even felt grass on their feet. We have seen plenty of dogs who have spent their entire lives in a 36” wire cage. Imagine what that can feel like on their paws. Many puppy mills do not have proper ventilation, food & water, and needs for basic care of dogs that will someday end up in the homes of the public. Here is a video from the ASPCA from a puppy mill. Also, take a look at a recent report of four puppy mills in Oklahoma who rank on a list of the “Horrible Hundred.”
- Papers myth. Let’s keep it real on papers. The AKC papers that many pet breeders will offer as incentive mean one thing—the puppy or dog is purebred. The papers do not ensure health or that the dog is a good representation of the breed.
- Shelters have purebred and cute dogs and cats. As you know, our city shelters are full of highly-desirable, purebred dogs and cats. In just a short year’s time, the Central Oklahoma Humane Society sees anything from purebred Yorkies, Maltese pups, Australian Shepherds, Corgis, Pugs, and everything in between.
- Do your homework. It is important to note something—There are good breeders in our state out of the more than 2,000 we think are here. When looking to buy from a breeder, there are some things to look for in detail to determine if the breeder is responsible:
- These owners are doing it for the love of the breed and not for profit.
- No more than one or two litters a year—many of which already have homes in mind when they litter is ready.
- Good breeders have contracts that give them rights to have their animals return if it doesn’t work out.
- Responsible breeders will let you meet the parents of the puppy.
- Last but not least, if you cannot see where the dog or cat has been living, do not buy from that breeder.
Of course, we encourage people to go to local shelters or the Central Oklahoma Humane Society first to find the pet that best fits their family. Pets are like people in the fact that they come with different personalities and behaviors, even in the same breed. When looking for your next pet, it is important to put a pet’s personality traits first for a more harmonious household!